Friday, May 29, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A new and perhaps/hopefully different blog

and hopefully BETTER blog 'brewing' at WordPress.

Visit me there! Soon!! Click on "Aimless Musings."

The Barter System

I recall my father teaching young men in the San Luis Valley the printing profession. In payment, the priest who initiated this occupational service for the youth would pay my father in wine. My dad didn't drink wine. My mom didn't drink. Period. Thus, after their deaths, my siblings and I discovered in the old cedar chest - bottle after bottle of crystallized wine.

A great deal of the work he did for others was for nothing. That was him.

My mom was a marvelous seamstress; we would window shop and I would point out dresses that I particularly liked. Then, entering the store, my mother would examine the dress, go home and sew the same dress for me! Oh, how fortunate I was. She also did sewing for friends and neighbors and did not accept any payment. But of course, these friends and neighbors would grace us with something like home-grown vegetables, canned fruit, an especially pretty beaded evening purse for me (at twelve years of age!!) from an aged neighbor who probably had it on her arm in the 1920s with her flapper dress swirling as she danced.

My father also did a lot of print shop work for Orval Ricketts at the Hustler Press in New Mexico and I recall the payment for one particular job: a lovely Two Grey Hills rug. Trade. Barter. It's back.

The exchange of goods and services remains mostly local matter, the Internet is taking corporate barter to new heights.

Airline Reservations Network in Orlando, Fla., sold $800,000 worth of airline tickets last year without receiving a nickel of cash. How? Company president Scott Bender says it's because his company embraces barter. "We barter airline tickets for printing, advertising space and employee benefits," says Bender. "Barter boosts our profitability by opening up a whole world of opportunity."

Financial Executive, January 1, 2001


Friday, May 22, 2009

Man in the kitchen - with eggplant

Dear Husband
Bless his heart
He labored.
I enjoyed!

Seen on the internet

The towels above are not what I saw on an internet blog, accompanied with the prayer: "Dear God, please let me look this hot when I'm in my 40s. Amen."

The photo on Yvette's Texas blog was of a very pretty young girl wearing . . . not much . . .

I love her prayer!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What is our legacy?

In the midst of a world that is too big and too fast, a world where information rules like a dictator and news travels like a virus, it is easy to be overcome by the hopelessness of the world and the helplessness of we, its keepers. What impact can we have? What traces will we leave behind?

History, I believe, is not the story of grand acts and masterpieces. History, instead, is the inexorable accumulation of tiny events--footsteps and glances, hands in soil, broken promises, bursts of laughter, weapons and wounds, hands touching hair, the art of conversation, the rage of loss. Historians may focus on the famous, familiar names--but history itself is made, day after day, by all those whose names are never known, all those who never made a proclamation or held an office, all those who were handed a place on earth and quietly made a life out of it.

So, what do we affect during our lifetime? What, ultimately, is our legacy? I believe, in most cases, our legacy is our friends. We write our history unto them, and they walk with us through our days like time capsules, filled with our mutual past, the fragments of our hearts and minds. Our friends get our uncensored questions and our yet-to-be-reasoned opinions. Our friends grant us the chance to make our grand, embarrassing, contradictory pronouncements about the world. They get the very best, and are stuck with the absolute worst we have to offer. Our friends get our rough drafts. Over time, they both open our eyes and break our hearts. Emerson wrote, "Make yourself necessary to someone." In a chaotic world, friendship is the most elegant, the most lasting way to be useful. We are, each of us, a living testament to our friends' compassion and tolerance, humor and wisdom, patience and grit. Friendship, not technology, is the only thing capable of showing us the enormity of the world.

Stephen Dietz, 1992.
Friendship exists, complete and absolute from the beginning. You don’t make friends, you recognize them.

I Want to Thank My Brain for Remembering Me

"When I was first starting to cover stories, I went to the auction of the great horse Nashua, in the main offices of the Hanover Bank, then at 60 Broadway. Nashua's owner, William Woodward Jr., had been shot by his wife, who said she mistook him for a prowler in their Long Island home. The racing stable was put up for auction. Nashua was separate. Nashua was a great champion. They took the returns at the bank."

Cinnamon Croissant Bread Pudding

The pudding is good without the sauce (if the idea of raw eggs bothers you). Dear Husband declared the pudding VERY good with the sauce and berries, and sans sauce and berries. He ate two healthy servings and proclaimed it delicious.

Tell me

Why would we prefer to know the worst than to suspect it? Because when we get bad news we weep for a while, and then get busy making the best of it. We change our behavior, we change our attitudes. We raise our consciousness and lower our standards. We find our bootstraps and tug. But we can’t come to terms with circumstances whose terms we don’t yet know. An uncertain future leaves us stranded in an unhappy present with nothing to do but wait.

eggs at Walgreens

Local Histories

Booking through Thursday

What book would you love to be able to read again for the first time?
A book I would like to read again as though for the first time would be Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham. A close second would be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

When . . .

I was searching for a parking spot at the library . . the thought occurred to me . . .
When we get our new library, there will always be available parking. I'm praying for that day!
Our library has obviously outgrown the present site.
I was visiting the library before I could walk and remember my mother juggling me and the library books on the way home.
As soon as I could read, I was borrowing library books and anticipating the delight of reading.
In recent years, technology has become an important part of libraries (as well as our homes and our workplaces . . . and in society in general). We are so fortunate to have excellent and dedicated librarians in our library; wouldn't it be nice if we had a new, up-to-date, well equipped, expanded, library . . .
The American Library Association states that the library is important "because it is the only institution in American society whose purpose is to guard against the tyrannies of ignorance and conformity, and its existence indicates the extent to which a democratic society values knowledge, truth, justice, books, and culture."
I pray that it will be sooner rather than later that the citizens of Seguin promote, advocate for, and support plans for a new library in Seguin.
Do you know that:
Libraries save lives. In a 1991 study physicians said that information provided by the library contributed to their ability to avoid patient mortality. The physicians also rated the information provided by the library more highly than that provided by other information sources such as diagnostic imaging, lab tests, and discussions with colleagues.
U.S. libraries circulate about the same number of items as FedEx ships each day, i.e., about 5.3 million items.
Numerous studies have confirmed that school libraries staffed by qualified library media specialists do make a measurable difference on student achievement.
There is now research to support what librarians have always said, i.e., libraries are busier during hard economic times.
Five times more people visit U.S. public libraries each year than attend U.S. professional and college football, basketball, baseball and hockey games combined. (1.1 billion vs. 204 million)
In a 2003 Wisconsin study, one-third of non-users of libraries said that libraries deserve more state financial support.
Library tidbits: The Farmington, New Mexico public library (take the photo tour) has an outside book return drop-off that automatically checks in the books. This is supposedly the only one in the nation; there is one in Germany Wouldn't that be nice??

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Richland Memories

I find family histories and area histories are interesting and rich with memories that for some unexplained reason, we can all share.

My husband grew up in Richland Parish, Louisiana and there have been two volumes of "Richland Memories" published that provide fascinating reading.

For copies of this book:

Original Richland Library

Retoration Society, Inc.

P.O. Box 522

Rayville, Louisiana 71269

We go back about every five years or so for husband's high school reunion (there were 33 - maybe 35 in his graduating class).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Quaker Ancestry

One never knows about the oral family histories that are passed down throughout the generations. Are these stories true? Are they 'romanticized'? Is the truth embellished?
The story passed down in my Troth family was that for love William Troth and Elizabeth Fields 'stole away' from England to come to the colonies because both of their families disapproved of the Quaker religious beliefs and of the union of William and Elizabeth.
Steal away perhaps, but they apparently had some wealth (or at least Elizabeth did). She "was necessitated to dispose of her jewelry to procure the requisite means to defray the expenses incident to her journey [from England to New England] as her family refused to supply her with the necessary means."
{Ancestry of the Haines, Sharpe, Collins, Willis, Gardiner, Prickett, Evans, Moore, Troth, Borton and Engle Families - compiled from notes of the late George Haines, M.D., with some additions by the compiler, Richard Haines, Medford, N.J., 1902}
William and Elizabeth settled in Evesham Township, Burlington County, New Jersey in what is known as the Engle Farm. They prospered and were active in the Friends and in their community.

"A Friend's meeting, however silent, is at the very lowest a witness that worship is something other and deeper than words, and that it is to the unseen and eternal things that we desire to give the first place in our lives. And when the awake and looking upwards, there is much more in it than this. In the united stillness of a truly 'gathered' meeting, there is a power known only by experience, and mysterious even when most familiar." Caroline Stephen, (1908).
My paternal grandmother, descendant of William Troth, died three months before I was born. Her maternal grandmother was a Cherokee of the Paint Clan and her paternal line was English and of the Quaker persuasion. My mother always told me that this grandmother was a Gentlewoman full of grace.
Her son, my father, exhibited the personal qualities I associate with the Quakers: spirituality, kindness, love, humbleness, and a genuine concern for others.
At his funeral a Baptist minister conducted the service. A Catholic priest who knew my father personally (a Frenchman who served in the San Luis Valley in Colorado) also spoke.
The priest mentioned the goodness of my father and his love for his family and how he helped everyone he met. He said that my father genuinely loved people, was never judgemental and he was now with the Saints. That is just about all I remember from my dad's funeral. It is enough.
"Friends' deep spirituality is a source of profound social activism. The need for aiding others ranged from early equality for women, anti-slavery, and religious freedom to penal reform and avoidance of war, and living in such a way as to take away the occasion of all war. These concerns continue today."

A grandson's poem

Support Seguin Arts

June 19, 2009
The Palace Theater

seen in the parking lot

Where Trouble Sleeps

Alease Toomey sat at her dresser, putting on lipstick, getting ready to take her son up to see the electric chair for the first time. She blotted her lips on a Kleenex, reached for her comb. Her dresser top held the basics only -- a jar of Pond's cold cream, a bottle of Jergens lotion, Elizabeth Arden rouge and lipstick, hand mirror, hairbrush -- all on a starched white table doily.
She thought about little Terry Daniels, just down the road. Why not take him along, too? Seeing the electric chair might be especially good for him, and certainly his mother wouldn't be taking him up there. And it would be nice for Stephen to have some company.


The link??


When words collide

published 1984

It is


now permissible

to end a sentence

with a preposition

although it


seems a little strange.

I can still hear

my grade school

English teacher

admonishing us

not to.


When words collide, they can collide like trucks on a highway, causing chaos and damage. Or they can collide like atoms of uranium, releasing power and force. Grammatical errors cause words to collide with disastrous results. Grammatical mastery -- craftsmanship -- causes words to collide in a creative burst of energy.

Hugo Whittier - the ultimate anti-hero

"After he barged into my chambers, Dennis parked his flat, entitled rear end on the set of my favorite chair, the armchair facing the windows that look out over the river, and proceeded to explain the end of his marriage to me while I sat on my bed in my pajamas, squinting at him with all the hatred I bear him, which is a heavy force, although he's as ignorant of that as he is of everything else about me, including the fact that in a short while I'll be dead. Dennis can be counted on to be a narcissist in every particular until his own end, whenever that may be slated to take place. My one regret in being terminal is that I will never know this, or other things."
There is very little to like about Hugo Whittier in Kate Christensen's novel The Epicure's Lament - however he certainly holds our interest.

A quote from Sam Lipsyte on the book's jacket: "What a wonderfully monstrous voice Kate Christensen has created in Hugo Whittier, trust-fund misanthrope, chain-smoking foodie, confirmed cad. His narration is as rich and textured as his Lobster Newburg, which I can almost taste. May we all simmer in the dark with such humor and gusto."

Monday, May 18, 2009

What was happening in the Fifties?

Red Skeleton
We moved across the entire state of New Mexico in 1953 - one day before school was to begin as I entered my sophomore year. I just knew I would not have the type of dear friends I had in Tucumcari, New Mexico. I just knew I would not have any friends at all in Farmington, New Mexico. Well, school girls do survive a move across the state during their high school years and one has friends everywhere you live (and now in the internet age - where you don't live - but encounter electronically).
This was probably the last of the polio scare years (my husband was unable to attend Louisiana Boys State in 1952 - for that event was cancelled due to this crippling disease affecting so many). [In 1955 Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine.]
Ah - the Fifties!!!
The Dirty Bop. Chinese Fire Drills. Kidnap Breakfasts. Sock Hops. Juke Boxes - moving the tables and dancing in the drug store and sipping on cherry cokes. Rolled up jeans and wearing my dad's long sleeved white shirt (sleeves rolled and collar up).
Poodle skirts. Penny loafers. Saddle oxfords. Letterman sweater. Going steady (wearing your beau's college or class ring on a chain around your neck).
Skinny dipping in Jackson Lake (same sex) after a slumber party.
Rebel Without A Cause (James Dean). The Wild One. Seventeen magazine.
Burma Shave signs.
Copy machine (with the purple ink)
The word Teenager was created in the 1950’s due to the tremendous population of those in this age category and because teenagers started gaining more independence and freedoms. Teenagers were able to buy more things like food, clothes and music because of an increase in spending money.
The fifties were times of joy and excitement - and I'm thankful for the memories.
Two uncles were in the Marines
and both served in Korea.
One was wounded
(and left for dead)
but lived.
The other
- who had served in World War II -
didn't come home.

Life began to change.